The sale/purchase price has to be adjudged on a combined consideration of the tax invoice or bill of sale as the case may be along with the accounts reflecting the trade discount and the actual price paid. The first proviso has thus to be so read down, as above, to be in consonance with the true intendment of the legislature and to achieve as well the avowed objective of correct determination of the taxable turnover. The contrary interpretation accorded by the High Court being in defiance of logic and the established axioms of interpretation of statutes is thus unacceptable and is negated. The appeals are thus allowed in the above terms. No costs.

[REPORTABLE]
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NOS.10955-10971 OF 2016
(ARISING OUT OF SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (C) Nos.28309-28325/2013)
M/S. SOUTHERN MOTORS .…APPELLANT
Versus
STATE OF KARNATAKA AND OTHERS …RESPONDENT
WITH
Civil Appeal Nos. 10972-10978 of 2016
(Arising out of SLP (C) Nos. 27752-27758 of 2014)

J U D G M E N T
AMITAVA ROY, J.

The instant adjudicative pursuit is to disinter the statutory
intendment lodged in Rule 3(2)(c) in particular of the Karnataka Value
Added Tax Rules, 2005 (for short, hereinafter to be referred to as “the
Rules”) so as to facilitate the determination of taxable turnover as
defined in Section 2(34) of the Karnataka Value Added Tax Act, 2003 (for
short, hereinafter to be referred to as “the Act”) in interface with
Section 30 of the Act and Rule 31 of the Rules.
2. We have heard Mr. Dhruv Mehta, learned senior counsel for the
appellant in Civil Appeal Nos. 10955-10971 of 2016, Mr. Tarun Gulati,
learned counsel for the appellant in Civil Appeal Nos. 10972-10978 of 2016
and Mr. K.N. Bhat, learned senior counsel for the respondent-State.
3. The foundational facts, albeit not in dispute present the required
preface. The appellant is a dealer in the motor vehicles and registered
under the Act. Its version is that during the years in question i.e. 2007-
2008 and 2008-2009, it raised tax invoices on the purchasers as per the
policy of manufacturers of vehicles to maintain uniformity in the price
thereof. After the sales were completed, credit notes were issued to the
customers granting discounts, in order to meet the competition in the
market and for allied reasons. Consequentially, it received/retained only
the net amount, that is the amount shown in the invoice less the sum of
discount disclosed in the credit note. Accordingly, the net amount, so
received was reflected in his books of account and returns were filed under
Income Tax Act, 1961 et al.
4. The Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, (Audit-1.6), VAT
Division No.1-1, Gandhi Nagar, Bangalore i.e. the respondent No.3, as the
Assessing Authority by his reassessment orders dated 21.06.2010 allowed
deductions claimed by the appellant towards discount accorded by the credit
notes from the total turnover to quantify the taxable turnover. Subsequent
thereto, in the face of the decision of the High Court in State of
Karnataka vs. M/s Kitchen Appliances India Ltd., 2011 (71) Karnataka Law
Journal 234, recognizing only discounts mentioned in the tax invoices as
eligible for deduction from the total turnover in terms of Rule 3(2)(c) of
the Rules, the Assessing Authority passed the rectification orders dated
21.05.2012 under Section 41(1) of the Act, disallowing the deduction of
post sale discounts earlier awarded by the corresponding credit notes. The
appellant having unsuccessfully challenged these rectification orders
before the High Court, in both the tiers, has invoked this Court’s
jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution of India for redress.
The above facts pertain to the Civil Appeal Nos. 10955-10971 of 2016.
5. The Civil Appeal 10971-10978 of 2016, with Samsung India Electronics
Ltd. as the appellant, also present the same debate. The appellant, the
assessee is as well a registered dealer under the Act and engaged in the
business of electronic goods and I.T. products. Though the assessment for
the tax period April, 2006 to October, 2006 was concluded by the Deputy
Commissioner of Commercial Taxes (Audit-4) LDU, Bangalore on 29.01.2007,
the Assessing Authority disallowed the claim of deduction towards discounts
on the ground that the same were not revealed at the time of issuance of
tax invoices, though credit notes were issued at the end of the month
concerned. The appeals filed by the appellant- assessee before the
Commissioner of Commercial Taxes (Appeals), DVO–I & III, Bangalore though
came to be dismissed, it succeeded before the jurisdictional Tribunal,
whereafter the Revenue took the challenge to the High Court. By the
decision impugned herein, the High Court relying on its earlier decision in
M/s Southern Motors vs. State of Karnataka and Ors. rendered in Writ Appeal
Nos. 5769-5785 of 2012 reiterated its view that once the sale invoice was
issued and the sale price was collected along with the tax, the aggregate
of such sales constituted the total turnover and the tax was payable on the
taxable turnover. It took note of the deductions permissible under Rule
3(2) of the Rules to determine the taxable turnover and held that though
the amounts allowed as discount did constitute permissible deduction to
compute the eventual taxable turnover, such discount was to be necessarily
reflected in the sale invoice to qualify for such deduction. It thus
concluded that by issuing a credit note after receiving the amounts even
before the filing of the returns, it could not be construed that the
discounts were not includible in the turnover. The claim of deduction of
the discount extended through credit notes after the completion of the sale
but not divulged in the tax invoice was negated. As the above rendition
was founded on the verdict under scrutiny in the previous batch of appeals
where M/s Southern Motors figures as the appellant, and the issue seeking
adjudication is common, all these appeals with the aforenoted marginal
factual variations have been analogously heard.
6. As the dissension stems from contrasting interpretations of the
underlying purport of Rule 3(2)(c) of the Rules in the context of the
scheme of the Act as a whole and Section 30 thereof and Rule 31 of the
Rules in particular, further reference to the factual details would be
inessential.
7. The emphatic insistence on behalf of the appellant is that the
combined reading of Section 30 and Rule 31 demonstrates in clear terms that
the assesses are entitled to claim deduction of the discount allowed to
their customers by credit notes, from the total turnover to quantify their
taxable turnover. The learned counsel have urged that as some discounts,
especially those linked to targets to be achieved in a particular period
are not comprehendable at the time of sale, these logically cannot be
reflected in the tax invoices. They have maintained that such discounts
actualize through credit notes at the end of the prescribed period for
which the target is fixed and are thus governed by Section 30 of the Act
and Rule 31 of the Rules. They have asserted that in no view of the
matter, Rule 3(2)(c) can be conceded a primacy to curtail or abrogate
Section 30 or Rule 31 of the Rules, lest the latter provisions are rendered
otiose. Such an explication would also be extinctive of the concept of the
well ingrained concept of turnover/trade discount which is indefensible.
8. Referring to the definition of “total turnover” and “taxable
turnover” as defined in Sections 2(36) and 2(34) of the Act, it has been
urged that as the discount allowed by the credit notes is not payable to
the assessee by the customers and does not form a part of the sale
consideration, it is not exigible under the Act. According to the learned
counsel, it is no longer res integra that trade discount is not a
constituent of the sale price and therefore not taxable. It has been
insistently pleaded that a post sale discount through credit notes is
revenue neutral in terms of Section 30(3) of the Act, as a consequence
whereof the selling and the purchasing dealers accordingly remodel their
returns and pay tax as due. In endorsement of the above contentions, the
following decisions have been relied upon:
1. Deputy Commissioner of Sales Tax (Law) Board of Revenue (Taxes),
Ernakulam vs. M/s. Advani Oorlikon (P) Ltd.(1980) 1 SCC 360,
2. IFB Industries Ltd. vs. State of Kerala (2012) 4 SCC 618,
3. Commissioner of Central Excise, Madras vs. M/s. Addison & Co. Ltd.
(2016) 10 SCC 56,
4.Union of India and others vs. Bombay Tyres International (P) Ltd. (2005)
3 SCC 787.
9. In refutation, the the learned counsel for the respondents, has
argued that a discount to qualify for deduction to compute the total and
eventual taxable turnover, as contemplated in Rule 3(2)(c) of the Rules has
to be essentially reflected in the tax invoice or the bill of sale issued
in respect of the sales. According to them, Section 30 and Rule 31 deal
with a situation where after a tax invoice is issued, it transpires that
the tax charged has either exceeded or has fallen short of the tax payable
for which a credit/debit note, as the case may be, would be issued. As
these two provisions do not regulate the computation of a taxable turnover,
there is no correlation thereof with Rule 3(2)(c) of the Rules which has
been assigned an independent role to determine the tax liability. In
absence of any specific provision in the parent statute granting tax
exemption based on deduction founded on post sale trade discount, Section
30 and Rule 31 are of no avail to the assesses, he urged. It is maintained
that in any view of the matter, a taxing statute has to be construed
strictly and any exemption is permissible only if the legislation permits
the same. Reliance in buttressal of the above has been placed on the
decisions of this Court in A.V. Fernandez vs. The State of Kerala 1957 SCR
837, IFB Industries Ltd. vs. State of Kerala (2012) 4 SCC 618 and Jayam &
Co. vs. Assistant Commissioner and Another (2016) 8 SCALE 70.
10. As the gravamen of the discord has its roots in the interplay of
Sections 29 and 30 of the Act with Rule 3(2)(c) in particular, apposite it
would be to refer to the same as well as the accompanying provisions as are
construed indispensable.
11. The Act is a legislation, as its preamble suggests to provide for
further levy of tax on the purchase or sale of goods in the State of
Karnataka. It defines amongst others “dealer” “tax invoice” “taxable
turnover” “total turnover” and “turnover” as contained in Sections 2(12),
2(32), 2(34), 2(35), 2(36). For immediate reference the relevant excerpts
of these expressions are set out hereunder:
“2(12) ‘Dealer’ means any person who carries on the business of buying,
selling, supplying or distributing goods, directly or otherwise, whether
for cash or for deferred payment, or for commission, remuneration or other
valuable consideration, and includes-………

2(32) ‘Tax invoice’ means a document specified under Section 29 listing
goods sold with price, quantity and other information as prescribed;

2(34) ‘Taxable turnover’ means the turnover on which a dealer shall be
liable to pay tax as determined after making such deductions from his total
turnover and in such manner as may be prescribed, but shall not include
the turnover of purchase or sale in the course of
interstate trade or commerce or in the course of export of the goods out of
the territory of India or in the course of import of the goods into the
territory of India and the value of goods transferred or dispatched
outside the State otherwise than by way of sale.
2(35) ‘Total turnover’ means the aggregate turnover in all goods of a
dealer at all places of business in the State, whether or not the whole or
any portion of such turnover is liable to tax, including the turnover of
purchase or sale in the course of interstate trade or commerce or in the
course of export of the goods out of the territory of India or in the
course of import of the goods into the territory of India and the value of
goods transferred or
despatched outside the State otherwise than by way of sale.
2(36) ‘Turnover’ means the aggregate amount for which goods are sold or
distributed or delivered or otherwise disposed of in any of the ways
referred to in clause (29) by a dealer, either directly or through another,
on his own account or on account of others,
whether for cash or for deferred payment or other valuable consideration,
and includes the aggregate amount for which goods are purchased from a
person not registered under the Act and the value of goods transferred or
despatched outside the State otherwise than by way of sale, and subject to
such conditions and restrictions as may be prescribed the amount for which
goods are sold shall include any sums charged for anything done by the
dealer in respect of the goods sold at the time of or before the delivery
thereof.

Explanation.- The value of the goods transferred or despatched outside the
State otherwise than by way of sale, shall be the amount for which the
goods are ordinarily sold by the dealer or the prevailing market price of
such goods where the dealer does not ordinarily sell the goods.”

12. Section 3 is the charging provision and the modes of fixation of rate
and measure of tax exigible under the statute are enumerated in Section 4.
Having regard to the exigency of the adjudication, appropriate it would be
to extract Sections 29 and 30 of the Act as hereunder:

“29. Tax invoices and bills of sale

(1) A registered dealer effecting a sale of taxable goods or exempt goods
along with any taxable goods, in excess of the prescribed value, shall
issue at the time of the sale, a tax invoice marked as original for the
sale, containing the particulars prescribed, and shall retain a copy
thereof.

(2) A tax invoice marked as original shall not be issued to any registered
dealer in circumstances other than those specified in sub-section (1), and
in a case of loss of the original, a duplicate may be issued where such
registered dealer so requests.

(3) A registered dealer,-

(a) selling non-taxable goods; or

(b) opting to pay tax by way of composition under section 15 and selling
any goods; or

(c) permitted to pay tax under section 16 and selling any goods,
in excess of the prescribed value, shall issue a bill of sale containing
such particulars as may be prescribed.

(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) or (3) or sub-
section (1) of Section 7, a registered dealer executing civil works
contracts shall issue a tax invoice or bill of sale at such time and
containing such particulars as may be prescribed
30. Credit and Debit Notes

(1) Where a tax invoice has been issued for any sale of goods and within
six months from the date of such sale the amount shown as tax charged in
that tax invoice is found to exceed the tax payable in respect of the sale
effected, or is not payable on account of goods sold being returned within
the prescribed period, the registered dealer effecting the sale shall issue
forthwith to the purchaser a credit note containing particulars as
prescribed.

(2) Where a tax invoice has been issued for sale of any goods and the tax
payable in respect of the sale exceeds the amount shown as tax charged in
such tax invoice, the registered dealer making the sale, shall issue to
the purchaser a debit note containing particulars as prescribed.
(3) Any registered dealer who receives or issues, credit notes or debit
notes shall declare them in his return to be furnished for the tax period
in which the credit note is received or debit note is issued and claim
reduction in tax or pay tax due thereon.
(4) Any document issued by the registered dealer as required under any
other law containing particulars of credit note or debit note as
prescribed shall be deemed to be a credit or debit note for the purpose of
this Section”

13. Under Section 29, it is incumbent on a registered dealer effecting a
sale of taxable goods or goods exempted from tax along with any taxable
goods in excess of the prescribed value, to issue at the time of sale, a
tax invoice marked as original for the sale and containing the particulars
prescribed. Thereunder a registered dealer in the eventualities mentioned
therein has to issue a bill of sale containing such particulars as may be
prescribed. Section 30 mandates that where such a tax invoice has been
issued for any sale of goods and withing six months from the date of such
sale, the amount shown as tax charged in that tax invoice is found to
exceed the tax payable in respect of the sale effected, or is not payable
on account of goods sold being returned within the prescribed period, the
registered dealer effecting the sale, would issue forthwith to the
purchaser, a credit note containing the particulars as prescribed. The
Section further stipulates that when a tax invoice has been issued for sale
of any goods and the tax payable in respect of the sale exceeds the amount
shown as tax charged in such tax invoice, the registered dealer making the
sale would issue to the purchaser, a debit note containing the particulars
as prescribed. It is further ordained that any registered dealer who
receives or issues credit notes or debit notes would declare them in his
return to be furnished for the tax period in which the credit note is
received or debit note is issued and claim reduction in tax or pay tax due
thereon. Noticeably, the period of six months for the issuance of the
credit note on the eventuality of excess tax being paid is not a factor for
the contingency requiring issuance of a debit note.
14. Be that as it may, Rule 3 of the Rules framed under Section 88 of
the Act, is lodged under Part II dwelling on “Turnover, Registration and
Payment Of Security”. This provision in particular deals with the
determination of total and taxable turnover and predicates that the taxable
turnover would be determined by allowing the deductions from the total
turnover as listed in sub-rule (2) thereof. Rule 3(2)(c) of the Rules,
indispensable for the present adjudication is quoted hereunder for ready
reference:
“3(2)(c): All amounts allowed as discount:

PROVIDED that such discount is allowed in accordance with the regular
practice of the dealer or is in accordance with the terms of any contract
or agreement entered into in a particular case and the tax invoice or bill
of sale issued in respect of the sales relating to such discount shows the
amount allowed as discount.

PROVIDED FURTHER that the accounts show that the purchaser has paid only
the sum originally charged less discount.”
15. A plain reading of this quote would reveal that all amounts allowed
as discount would qualify for deduction from the total turnover to
ascertain the taxable turnover and thus the extent of exigibility under
this statute. The first proviso which occupies the center stage of the
debate prescribes that a discount to be eligible for deduction has to be
one which is allowed in accordance with the regular practice of the dealer
or is in accordance with the terms of any contract or agreement entered
into in a particular case and the tax invoice or bill of sale issued in
respect of the sales relating to such discount shows the amount allowed as
discount. The second proviso enjoins further, that the accounts should show
that the purchaser had paid only the sum originally charged less the
discount. Whereas the Revenue insists in view of the first proviso in
particular, that a discount to be entitled for deduction to quantify the
taxable turnover should essentially be mentioned in the tax invoice or bill
of sale issued in respect of the sales and further the purchaser has to
reflect in his accounts that he had paid only the sum originally charged
less the discount, the appellants contend that having regard to the uniform
canons regulating the trade practice, a trade discount though in
comprehension at the time of original sale is not always precisely
quantifiable at that point of time and is contingent on variable factors to
be computed only on the happening of a future event(s). In any case,
however as the discount eventually sanctioned is tangible and actual, the
literal interpretation sought to be given to the contents of first proviso
to Rule 3(2)(c) is expressly illogical and if accepted would lead to absurd
results rendering this provision redundant and unworkable.
16. Before embarking on analysis of the competing assertions, expedient
it would be to advert to the citations addressed at the Bar.
17. In A.V. Fernandis (supra), a Constitution Bench of this Court while
dwelling on the interpretation of the relevant provisions of the United
State of Travancore and Cochin General Sales Tax Act, 1125 and the
Travancore Cochin General Sales Tax Rules, 1950 framed thereunder ruled
that in elucidating a fiscal statute, it is not the spirit thereof but the
letter of law that has to be looked into and that if a particular tax
cannot be brought within the letter of the law, the subject could not be
made liable for the same. That the emphasis has to be to the strict letter
of law and not merely on the spirit of the statute or the substance of law
was highlighted. In this context, the observations of Lord Russel of
Killowen in Inland Revenue Commissioner vs. Duke of Westminister (1936) AC
1 24 was extracted :
“I confess that I view with disfavour the doctrine that in taxation cases
the subject is to be taxed if in accordance with a Court’s view of what it
considers the substance of the transaction, the Court thinks that the case
falls within the contemplation or spirit of the statute. The subject is
not taxable by inference or by analogy, but only by the plain words of a
statute applicable to the facts and circumstances of his case”

18. The following passage as well from Partington vs. Attorney General
(1869)4 HL 100, 122 was quoted with approval.
“As I understand the principle of all fiscal legislation it is this: if
the person sought to be taxed, comes within the letter of the law he must
be taxed, however great the hardship may appear to the judicial mind to
be. On the other hand, if the Crown, seeking to recover the tax, cannot
bring the subject within the letter of the law, the subject is free,
however apparently within the spirit of the law the case might otherwise
appear to be.”.
19. In the textual facts, in essence, the claim of the appellant-assessee
to avoid deduction of an amount arising out of sales effected beyond the
State concerned was negated as the same were not taxable in terms of
Section 26 of the Travancore-Cochin General Sales Tax Amendment Act, 1951
in clear terms. Drawing a distinction between the provisions contained in
a statute with regard to the exemptions, refund or rebate on one hand and
non liability of tax or non imposition of tax on the other, it was
enunciated that in the former, the sales or purchases would have to be
included in the gross turnover of the dealer because those were prima facie
liable to tax and the dealer was only entitled to deductions from the gross
turnover so as to arrive at the net turnover on which the tax could be
imposed. In the latter case, the sales or the purchases were exempted from
taxation altogether. It was thus ruled that as the sales beyond the State,
were not liable to tax, those were liable to be excluded from the
calculation of the gross turnover as well as the net turnover on which the
sales tax could be levied or imposed. The attempt on the part of the
appellant-assessee to include the turnover of the sales beyond the State in
the gross turnover and thereafter to seek a deduction thereof was thus
disapproved.
20. The distinction between “trade discount” and “cash discount” was
elaborated upon by this Court in M/s. Advani Oorlikon (P) Ltd. (supra), in
re, the question whether for the purpose of computing the turnover assessed
to sales tax therein, under the Central Sales Tax Act 1956, the sale price
of goods was to be determined by including the amount paid by way of trade
discount. The facts as unfolded evinced that the assessee was a private
limited company, carrying on business as sole selling agent for certain
brand of welding electrodes and for the goods supplied to the retailers, it
charged them the catalogue price less the trade discount. The concerned
Revenue Authority, for the assessment year in question, refused to allow
the deduction and sans thereof, computed the taxable turnover, being of the
view that the trade discount was not excludable from the catalogue price.
It was contended on behalf of the Revenue that in view of the definition of
“sale price” in Section 2(h) of the Central Sales Tax Act which permitted
the deduction of sums alleged as cash discount only, the deduction by way
of trade discount was not contemplated or permissible.
21. This Court referred to the definition of “sale price” in Section 2(h)
of the Act and noted that it was defined to be the amount payable to a
dealer as a consideration for the sale of any goods, less any sum allowed
as cash discount, according to the practice normally prevailing in the
trade. While observing that cash discount conceptually was distinctly
different from a trade discount which was a deduction from the catalogue
price of goods allowable by whole-sellers to retailers engaged in the
trade, it was exposited that under the Central Sales Tax Act, the sale
price which enters into the computation of the turnover is the
consideration for which the goods are sold by the assessee. It was held
that in a case where trade discount was allowed on the catalogue price, the
sale price would be the amount determined after deducting the trade
discount. It was ruled that it was immaterial that the definition of “sale
price” under Section 2(h) of the Act did not expressly provide for the
deduction of trade discount from the sale price. It also held a view that
having regard to the nature of a trade discount, there is only one sale
price between the dealer and the retailer and that is the price payable by
the retailer calculated as the difference between the catalogue price and
the trade discount. Significantly it was propounded that, in such a
situation, there was only one contract between the parties that is the
contract that the goods would be sold by the dealer to the retailer at the
aforesaid sale price and that there was no question of two successive
agreements between the parties, one providing for the sale of the goods at
the catalogue price and the other providing for an allowance by way of
trade discount. While recognizing that the sale price remained the
stipulated price in the contract between the parties, this Court concluded
that the sale price which enters into the computation of the assessee’s
turnover for the purpose of assessment under the Sales Tax Act would be
determined after deducting the trade discount from the catalogue price.
22. The decision in Jayam and Company (supra) cited by the Revenue was to
underline the postulation that whenever concession is given by a statute,
notification etc., the conditions thereof are to be strictly complied with
in order to avail the same. Section 19(20) of the Tamil Nadu Value Added
Tax Act, 2006, which in clear terms, denied the benefit of Input Tax
Credit, where any registered dealer sold goods at a price lesser than the
price at which the same had been purchased, was adverted to consolidate
this proposition. Noticeably, this provision of the statute involved,
which fell for scrutiny, did by unequivocal mandate deny the availment of
the income tax credit, in case the registered dealer/assessee had sold
goods at a price lesser than the price at which the same had been purchased
by him.
23. In IFB Industries Ltd. (supra), this Court was seized with the query
as to how far deductions were allowable under Rule 9 (a) of the Kerala
General Sales Tax Rules, 1963 for trade discounts. The jurisdictional High
Court returned the finding that unless the discount was shown in the
invoice evidencing the sale, it would not qualify for such deduction and
further any discount that was given by means of credit note issued
subsequent to the sale, in reality was an incentive and not a trade
discount eligible for exemption under Rule 9 (a) of the Rules. The
appellant was a manufacturer of home appliances having a scheme of trade
discount for its dealers under which the latter on achieving a pre set
sale target would earn certain discount on the price for which they had
purchased the articles from it. As the discount was subject to achieving
the sale target, the dealer would naturally be qualified for it in the
later part of the Financial years/assessment period i.e. long after the
sales had taken place. It was noted that for the sales taking place
between the appellant and its dealer after the sale target was achieved,
the dealer would get the articles on the discounted price but for the sales
that had taken place before the sale target was achieved, the manufacturer
would issue credit notes in favour of the dealer. Under the statute
involved, in the computation of the turnover as defined, amongst others,
any cash or other discount on the price allowed in respect of any sale and
any amount refunded in respect of articles returned by the customers, was
deductible. Rule 9 (a) provided that in determining the taxable turnover,
all amounts allowed as discount, provided such discount was accorded in
accordance with the regular practice would stand deducted, if the accounts
show that the purchaser had paid only the sum originally charged less the
discount. Rule 9(a) therefore did stipulate, as the conditions precedent
for deduction of any amount allowed as discount, two prescriptions i.e. the
discount had been given in accordance with the regular practice in trade
and that the accounts maintained by the purchaser would disclose that it
had paid only the sum originally charged less the discount. This Court thus
expounded that in absence of any prescript of reference of such discount
availed in the sale invoices, the negation of the benefit of deduction of
the trade discount in the quantification of the taxable turnover was
erroneous. It was held, that there was nothing in Rule 9 (a) to read it in
a restrictive manner to mean that the discount in order to eligible for
exemption thereunder must be reflected in the invoice itself. While
dilating on the notion of “trade discount” to be a deduction from the
catalogue price of goods allowed by wholesalers to the retailers engaged in
the trade to enable the latter to sell the goods at the catalogue price and
yet make a reasonable margin of profit after taking into account his
business expense, the following observations of this Court in Union of
India and others vs. Bombay Tyres International (P) Ltd. (2005) 3 SCC 787,
describing “trade discount” and countenancing its deductibility from the
sale price were alluded to:

“(1) Trade discounts – Discounts allowed in the trade (by whatever
name such discount is described) should be allowed to be deducted from the
sale price having regard to the nature of the goods, if established under
agreements or under terms of sale or by established practice, the allowance
and the nature of the discount being known at or prior to the removal of
the goods. Such trade discounts shall not be disallowed only because they
are not payable at the time of each invoice or deducted from the invoice
price.” (emphasis supplied)
24. This rendering presumably had been cited on behalf of the
respondents in order to underscore that the appellant’s claim therein for
the deduction of the trade discount had been approved as both the
prerequisites stipulated by Rule 9(a) had been complied with. This is to
reinforce the plea that the appellant in the case in hand thus by analogy
of reasonings can avail the benefit of deduction of trade discount only if
the same is reflected in the tax invoice as statutorily prescribed by Rule
3(2)(c) of the Rules.
25. This Court in M/s Addison and Co. Ltd. (supra) was chiefly seized
with the issue of refund of excise duty under Section 11B of the Central
Excise Act, 1944. The respondent, a manufacturer of cutting tools, filed a
refund claim which, on being eventually allowed after persuading through
the different tiers, culminated in a reference before the High Court of
Madras which was also answered in favour of the respondent/assessee. It
was held by the High Court that the refund towards deduction of turnover
discount could not be denied on the ground that there was no evidence to
show who was the ultimate consumer of the product and as to whether the
ultimate consumer had borne the burden of duty. The word “buyer” used in
Section 12B of the Act, as construed by the High Court did not refer to the
ultimate consumer and was confined only to the person who bought the goods
from the manufacturer. This Court accepted the postulation in Union of
India and others vs. Bombay Tyre International Ltd. and others (1984) 1
SCC 467 and Bombay Tyres International (P) Ltd. (supra) to the extent that
discounts allowed in the trade should be permitted to be deducted from the
sale price having regard to the nature of the goods, if it established
under agreements or in terms of sale or by established practice and that
such trade discounts ought not to be disallowed only because those were not
payable at the time of each invoice or deducted from the invoice price, but
declined the relief of refund to the respondent on the consideration that
the burden of duty had meanwhile been passed on to the ultimate buyer. It
was explicated that the word “buyer” appearing in Clause (e) to the proviso
of Section 11B(2) of the Central Excise Act could not be restricted to the
first buyer from the manufacturer. The prevalence of trade discounts was
recognized so much so that deductions on the basis thereof were also
approved so as to determine the eventual tax liability.
26. The parties noticeably are not in issue over the prevalence of trade
discount contemplated in regular practice and that wherever warranted, the
dealing parties in accord therewith do enter into a contract or agreement
to apply the same for reduction of the sale/purchase price. Understandably,
the taxable turnover is the summation of the actual sale/purchase price
exigible to tax under the Act and the Rules. Depending on the
eventualities as comprehended in Section 30, credit and debit notes are
issued, as a consequence whereof, the tax liability is reduced or enhanced
correspondingly and the same is determined on the basis of the declarations
made by the assessees in their returns. That there is an inseverable co-
relation between the taxable turn over and the tax payable need not be over
emphasized. Noticeably, Section 30 dilates on the contingencies witnessing
reduction or enhancement of tax liability subsequent to the sale/purchase
of goods. The tax liability, to reiterate would be contingent on the
sale/purchase price in the eventual sale/purchase price, to be essentially
reflected in the return of the assessee. Section 30 axiomatically thus
deals only with the incidence of tax and not the spectrum of situations or
eventualities bearing on the tax liability. Rule 3(2), in particular lists
the array of deductions conditioned on variety of situations as scheduled
therein to ascertain the taxable turnover. Allowance of discount is one of
the several other permissible deductions contingent on the melange of
determinants referred to therein. These deductions, however contribute to
the reduction of the total turnover to quantify the taxable turnover and
thus the tax liability. It is too trite to state that neither an assessee
is liable to pay tax in excess of what is due in law nor is the revenue
authorized to exact the same. Any interpretation of Rule 3(2)(c) though
an integrant of a fiscal statute has to be in accord, in our estimate unite
this fundamental mandatory postulation.
27. It is a matter of common experience that in the present contemporary
competitive market, trade discounts not only are dependent on variable
factors but also might be strategically not disclosable at the time of the
original sale/purchase so as to be coevally reflected in the tax invoice or
the bill of sale as the case may be. The actual quantification of the trade
discount, depending on the nature of the trade and the related stipulations
in any contract with regard thereto, may be deferred till the happening of
a contemplated event, so much so that the benefit thereof is extended at a
point of time subsequent to that of the original sale/purchase. That by
itself, subject to proof of such regular trade practice and the
contract/agreement entered into between the parties, would not render the
trade discount otherwise legal and acceptable, either non est or fictitious
for evading tax liability. In the above factual premise, the
interpretation as sought to be provided by the Revenue would evidently
reduce Section 3(2)(c) to a dead letter, ineffective and unworkable and
would defeat the objective of permitting deductions from the total turnover
on account of trade discount.
28. A trade discount conceptually is a pre sale concurrence, the
quantification whereof depends on many many factors in commerce regulating
the scale of sale/purchase depending, amongst others on goodwill, quality,
marketable skills, discounts, etc. contributing to the ultimate performance
to qualify for such discounts. Such trade discounts, to reiterate, have
already been recognized by this Court with the emphatic rider that the same
ought not to be disallowed only as they are not payable at the time of each
invoice or deducted from the invoice price. In our comprehension, Sections
29, 30 and Rule 3 are the constituents of a same scheme to determine the
taxable turnover and thus the extent of exigibility. Whereas Sections 29
and 30, to repeat, deal with the issuance of tax invoice and bill of sale
to start with and thereafter credit and debit notes to be in accord with
the tax actually payable, Rule 3 in a way espouses the exercise of
ascertaining the taxable turnover by enumerating the permissible deductions
from the total turnover. We are thus of the considered view that there is
no repugnance or conflict amongst these three provisions so much so that
Rule 3(2)(c) stands out in isolation and is incompatible with either the
scheme of the Act or Sections 29 and 30 to be precise. The interplay of
these three provisions is directed to ensure correct computation of the
taxable turnover for an accurate computation of the tax liability. These
provisions therefore for all practical purposes complement each other and
are by no means militative in orientation or impact. Perceptionally, if
taxable turnover is to be comprised of sale/purchase price, it is beyond
one’s comprehension as to why the trade discount should be disallowed,
subject to the proof thereof, only because it was effectuated subsequent to
the original sale but evidenced by contemporaneous documents and reflected
in the relevant accounts.
29. This Court in K.P. Varghese vs. Income Tax Officer, Ernakulam and
Anr. AIR 1981 SC 1922, while interpreting Section 52 of the Income Tax Act
1961 favoured an interpretation in departure from a strict literal reading
thereof. For ready reference, Section 52, as interpreted, is extracted
hereinbelow.
“Section 52 (1) Where the person who acquires a capital asset from an
assessee is directly or indirectly connected with the assessee and the
Income-tax Officer has reason to believe that the transfer was effected
with the object of avoidance or reduction of the liability of the assessee
under Section 45, the full value of the consideration for the transfer
shall, with the previous approval of the Inspecting Assistant Commissioner,
be taken to be the fair market value of the capital asset on the date of
the transfer.

(2) without prejudice to the provisions of Sub-section (1), if in the
opinion of the Income-tax Officer the fair market value of a capital asset
transferred by an assessee as on the date of the transfer exceeds the full
value of the consideration declared by the assessee in respect of the
transfer of such capital assets by an amount of not less than fifteen per
cent of the value declared, the full value of the consideration for such
capital asset shall, with the previous approval of the Inspecting Assistant
Commissioner, be taken to be its fair market value on the date of its
transfer.”

It was proclaimed thus:

“5. Now on these provisions the question arises what is the true
interpretation of Section 52, Sub-section (2). The argument of the Revenue
was and this argument found favour with the majority Judges of the Full
Bench that on a plain natural construction of the language of Section 52,
Sub-section (2), the only condition for attracting the applicability of
that provision is that the fair market value of the capital asset
transferred by the assessee as on the date of the transfer exceeds the full
value of the consideration declared by the assessee in respect of the
transfer by an amount of not less than 15% of the value so declared. Once
the Income-tax Officer is satisfied that this condition exists, he can
proceed to invoke the provision in Section 52 Sub-section (2) and take the
fair market value of the capital asset transferred by the assessee as on
the date of the transfer as representing the full value of the
consideration for the transfer of the capital asset and compute the capital
gains on that basis. No more is necessary to be proved, contended the
Revenue. To introduce any further condition such as understatement of
consideration in respect of the transfer would be to read into the
statutory provision something which is not there: indeed it would amount to
rewriting the section. This argument was based on a strictly literal
reading of Section 52 Sub-section (2) but we do not think such a
construction can be accepted. It ignores several vital considerations which
must always be borne in mind when we are interpreting a statutory
provision. The task of interpretation of a statutory enactment is not a
mechanical task. It is more than a mere reading of mathematical formulae
because few words possess the precision of mathematical symbols. It is an
attempt to discover the intent of the legislature from the language used by
it and it must always be remembered that language is at best an imperfect
instrument for the expression of human thought and as pointed out by Lord
Denning, it would be idle to expect every statutory provision to be
“drafted with divine prescience and perfect clarity.” We can do no better
than repeat the famous words of Judge Learned Hand when he said:

“….it is true that the words used, even in their literal sense, are the
primary and ordinarily the most reliable, source of interpreting the
meaning of any writing: be it a statute, a contract or anything else. But
it is one of the surest indexes of a mature and developed jurisprudence not
to make a fortress out of the dictionary; but to remember that statutes
always have some purpose or object to accomplish, whose sympathetic and
imaginative discovery is the surest guide to their meaning”

We must not adopt a strictly literal interpretation of Section 52 Sub-
section (2) but we must construe its language having regard to the object
and purpose which the legislature had in view in enacting that provision
and in the context of the setting in which it occurs. We cannot ignore the
context and the collocation of the provisions in which Section 52 Sub-
section (2) appears, because, as pointed out by Judge Learned Hand in most
felicitous language:-

“….the meaning of a sentence may be more than that of the separate words as
a melody is more than the notes, and no degree of particularity can ever
obviate recourse to the setting in which all appear, and which all
collectively create”

Keeping these observations in mind we may now approach the construction of
Section 52 Sub-section (2).

6. The primary objection against the literal construction of Section 52 Sub-
section (2) is that it leads to manifestly unreasonable and absurd
consequences. It is true that the consequences of a suggested construction
cannot alter the meaning of a statutory provision but they can certainly
help to fix its meaning. It is a well recognised rule of construction that
a statutory provision must be so construed, if possible that absurdity and
mischief may be avoided. There are many situations where the construction
suggested on behalf of the Revenue would lead to a wholly unreasonable
result which could never have been intended by the legislature. Take, for
example, a case where A agrees to sell his property to B for a certain
price and before the sale is completed pursuant to the agreement and it is
quite well-known that sometimes the competition of the sale may take place
even a couple of years after the date of the agreement-the market price
shoots up with the result that the market price prevailing on the date of
the sale exceeds the agreed price at which the property is sold by more
than 15% of such agreed price. This is not at all an uncommon case in an
economy of rising prices and in fact we would find in a large number of
cases where the sale is completed more than a year or two after the date of
the agreement that the market price prevailing on the date of the sale is
very much more than the price at which the property is sold under the
agreement. Can it be contended with any degree of fairness and justice that
in such cases, where there is clearly no understatement of consideration in
respect of the transfer and the transaction is perfectly honest and
bonafide and, in fact, in fulfillment of a contractual obligation, the
assessee who has sold the property should be liable to pay tax on capital
gains which have not accrued or arisen to him. It would indeed be most
harsh and inequitable to tax the assessee on income which has neither
arisen to him nor is received by him, merely because he has carried out the
contractual obligation under-taken by him. It is difficult to conceive of
any rational reason why the legislature should have thought it fit to
impose liability to tax on an assessee who is bound by law to carry out his
contractual obligation to sell the property at the agreed price and
honestly carries out such contractual obligation. It would indeed be
strange if obedience to the law should attract the levy of tax on income
which has neither arisen to the assessee nor has been received by him. If
we may take another illustration, let us consider a case where A sells his
property to B with a stipulation that after some-time which may be a couple
of years or more, he shall resell the property to A for the same price
could it be contended in such a case that when B transfers the property to
A for the same price at which he originally purchased it, he should be
liable to pay tax on the basis as if he has received the market value of
the property as on the date of resale, if, in the meanwhile, the market
price has shot up and exceeds the agreed price by more than 15%. Many other
similar situations can be contemplated where it would be absurd and
unreasonable to apply Section 52 Sub-section (2) according to its strict
literal construction. We must therefore eschew literalness in the
interpretation of Section 52 Sub-section (2) and try to arrive at an
interpretation which avoids this absurdity and mischief and makes the
provision rational and sensible, unless of course, our hands are tied and
we cannot find any escape from the tyranny of the literal interpretation.
It is now a well settled rule of construction that where the plain literal
interpretation of a statutory provision produces a manifestly absurd and
unjust result which could never have been intended by the legislature, the
court may modify the language used by the legislature or even ‘do some
violence’ to it, so as to achieve the obvious intention of the legislature
and produce a rational construction, Vide: Luke v. Inland Revenue
Commissioner [1963] AC 557. The Court may also in such a case read into the
statutory provision a condition which, though not expressed, is implicit as
constituting the basic assumption underlying the statutory provision. We
think that, having regard to this well recognised rule of interpretation, a
fair and reasonable construction of Section 52 Sub-section (2) would be to
read into it a condition that it would apply only where the consideration
for the transfer is under-stated or in other words, the assessee has
actually received a larger consideration for the transfer than what is
declared in the instrument of transfer and it would have no application in
case of a bonafide transaction where the full value of the consideration
for the transfer is correctly declared by the assessee. There are several
important considerations which incline us to accept this construction of
Section 52 Sub-section (2).”

30. In Commissioner of Income Tax, Bangalore Vs. J.H. Gotla Yadagiri AIR
1985 SC 1698 this Court propounded that though equity and taxation are
often strangers, attempts should be made that these do not remain always
so and if a construction results in equity rather than injustice, then
such construction should be preferred to the literal construction.
31. In a recent rendition in State of Jharkhand and others vs. Tata Steel
Ltd. and Ors. (2016) 11 SCC 147, this Court while exploring the underlying
intent of a notification pertaining to the period of repayment by the
respondents-assessee, which had earlier availed the benefit of deferment of
payment of tax under the Jharkhand Value Added Tax Act, 2005 did
exhaustively dwell on the golden rule of interpretation based on literal
and plain meaning of the words/expressions used in a statute and with
approval placed reliance on an earlier decision of this Court in Hansraj
Gordhandas vs. H.H. Dave, Assistant Collector of Central Excise & Customs,
Surat and others (1969) 2 SCR 252, in which it was propounded thus:
“It was contended on behalf of the respondent that the object of
granting exemption was to encourage the formation of cooperative societies
which not only produced cotton fabrics but which also consisted of
members, not only owning but having actually operated not more than four
power-looms during the three years immediately preceding their having
joined the society. The policy was that instead of each such member
operating his looms on his own, he should combine with others by forming
a society which, through the cooperative effort should produce cloth.
The intention was that the goods produced for which exemption could be
claimed must be goods produced on its own behalf by the society. We are
unable to accept the contention put forward on behalf of the
respondents as correct. On a true construction of the language of the
notifications, dated July 31, 1959 and April 30, 1960 it is clear that
all that is required for claiming exemption is that the cotton fabrics
must be produced on power-looms owned by the cooperative society.
There is no further requirement under the two notifications that the
cotton fabrics must be produced by the Co-operative Society on the
power-looms “for itself”. It is well established that in a taxing
statute there is no room for any intendment but regard must be had to
the clear meaning of the words. The entire matter is governed wholly by
the language of the notification. If the tax-payer is within the plain
terms of the exemption it cannot be denied its benefit by calling in
aid any supposed intention of the exempting authority. If such
intention can be gathered from the construction of the words of the
notification or by necessary implication therefrom, the matter is
different, but that is not the case here.”
[Underlining is ours]

32. In the same vein, the following passage from M/s Doypack Systems Pvt.
Ltd. vs. Union of India and Ors. (1988) 2 SCC 299 was adverted to:
“58. The words in the statute must, prima facie, be given their
ordinary meanings. Where the grammatical construction is clear and
manifest and without doubt, that construction ought to prevail unless
there are some strong and obvious reasons to the contrary. Nothing
has been shown to warrant that literal construction should not be
given effect to. See Chandavarkar S.R. Rao v. Ashalata (1986) 4 SCC
447 approving 44 Halsbury’s Laws of England, 4th Edn., para 856 at
page 552, Nokes v. Doncaster Amalgamated Collieries Limited 1940 AC
1014. It must be emphasised that interpretation must be in consonance with
the Directive Principles of State Policy in Article 39 (b) and (c) of the
Constitution.

59. It has to be reiterated that the object of interpretation of a
statute is to discover the intention of the Parliament as expressed in the
Act. The dominant purpose in construing a statute is to ascertain the
intention of the legislature as expressed in the statute, considering it
as a whole and in its context. That intention, and therefore the meaning
of the statute, is primarily to be sought in the words used in the
statute itself, which must, if they are plain and unambiguous, be applied
as they stand. …”

33. The following excerpts from Tata Steel Ltd. (supra), being of
formidable significance are also extracted as hereunder.
24. In this regard, reference to Mahadeo Prasad Bais (Dead) vs. Income-
Tax Officer ‘A’ Ward, Gorakhpur and another (1991) 4 SCC 560 would be
absolutely seemly. In the said case, it has been held that an
interpretation which will result in an anomaly or absurdity should be
avoided and where literal construction creates an anomaly, absurdity
and discrimination, statute should be liberally construed even slightly
straining the language so as to avoid the meaningless anomaly. Emphasis
has been laid on the principle that if an interpretation leads to
absurdity, it is the duty of the court to avoid the same.

25. In Oxford University Press v. Commissioner of Income Tax (2001)
3 SCC 359, Mohapatra, J. has opined that interpretation should serve the
intent and purpose of the statutory provision. In that context, the
learned Judge has referred to the authority in State of T.N. v.
Kodaikanal Motor Union (P) Ltd. (1986) 3 SCC 91 wherein this Court after
referring to K.P. Varghese v. ITO[ (1981) 4 SCC 173 and Luke v. IRC (1964)
54 ITR 692 has observed:-

“The courts must always seek to find out the intention of the
legislature. Though the courts must find out the intention of the
statute from the language used, but language more often than not is an
imperfect instrument of expression of human thought. As Lord Denning said
it would be idle to expect every statutory provision to be drafted with
divine prescience and perfect clarity. As Judge Learned Hand said, we
must not make a fortress out of dictionary but remember that statutes
must have some purpose or object, whose imaginative discovery is
judicial craftsmanship. We need not always cling to literalness and
should seek to endeavour to avoid an unjust or absurd result. We should
not make a mockery of legislation. To make sense out of an unhappily
worded provision, where the purpose is apparent to the judicial eye
‘some’ violence to language is permissible.”

26. Sabharwal, J. (as His Lordship then was) has observed thus:-

“… It is well-recognised rule of construction that a statutory
provision must be so construed, if possible, that absurdity and
mischief may be avoided. It was held that construction suggested on
behalf of the Revenue would lead to a wholly unreasonable result which
could never have been intended by the legislature. It was said that
the literalness in the interpretation of Section 52(2) must be eschewed
and the court should try to arrive at an interpretation which avoids the
absurdity and the mischief and makes the provision rational, sensible,
unless of course, the hands of the court are tied and it cannot find
any escape from the tyranny of literal interpretation. It is said that
it is now well-settled rule of construction that where the plain
literal interpretation of a statutory provision produces a manifestly
absurd and unjust result which could never have been intended by the
legislature, the court may modify the language used by the legislature
or even “do some violence” to it, so as to achieve the obvious
intention of the legislature and produce a rational
construction. In such a case the court may read into the
statutory provision a condition which, though not expressed, is
implicit in construing the basic assumption underlying the statutory
provision. …”

34. As would be overwhelmingly pellucid from hereinabove, though words in
a statute must, to start with, be extended their ordinary meanings, but if
the literal construction thereof results in anomaly or absurdity, the
courts must seek to find out the underlying intention of the legislature
and in the said pursuit, can within permissible limits strain the language
so as to avoid such unintended mischief.
35. In Seaford Court Estates Ltd. vs. Asker [1949] 2 All ER 155 hallowed
by time, outlining the duty of the Court to iron out the creases, it was
enunciated, that whenever a statute comes up for consideration, it must be
remembered that it is not within human powers to foresee the manifold sets
of facts which may arise and even if it were, it is not possible to provide
for them in terms free from all ambiguity, the caveat being that the
English language is not an instrument of mathematical precision. It was
held that in an eventuality where a Judge, believing himself to be fettered
by the supposed rule that he must look to the language and nothing else,
laments that the draftsmen have not provided for this or that or have been
guilty of some or other ambiguity, he ought to set to work on the
constructive task of finding the intention of the Parliament and that he
must do this not only from the language of the statute, but also from a
consideration of the social conditions which gave rise to it and of the
mischief which it was passed to remedy and then he must supplement the
written word so as to give “force and life” to the intention of the
legislature.

36. It would, in any case be incomprehensible that the legislature, while
occasioning the amendment to the first proviso to Rule 3(2)(c) of the
Rules, was either ignorant or unaware of the prevalent practice of offering
trade discount in the contemporary commercial dispensations. This is more
so, as trade discount continued to be an accepted item of deduction. In
such a premise, the intention of the legislature could not have been to
deny the benefit of deduction of trade discount by obdurately insisting on
the reflection of such trade discount in the text invoice or the bill of
sale at the point of the sale as the only device to guard against possible
avoidance of tax under the cloak thereof. Axiomatically, therefor the
interpretation to be extended to the proviso involved has to be essentially
in accord with the legislative intention to sustain realistically the
benefit of trade discount as envisaged. Any exposition to probabilise
exaction of the levy in excess of the due, being impermissible cannot be
thus a conceivable entailment of any law on imperative impost. To insist
on the quantification of trade discount for deduction at the time of sale
itself, by incorporating the same in the tax invoice/bill of sale, would be
to demand the impossible for all practical purposes and thus would be ill-
logical, irrational and absurd. To reiterate, trade discount though an
admitted phenomenon in commerce, the computation thereof may depend on
various factors singular to the parties as well as by way of uniform norms
in business not necessarily enforceable or implementable at the time of the
original sale. To deny the benefit of deduction only on the ground of
omission to reflect the trade discount though actually granted in future,
in the tax invoice/bill of sale at the time of the original transaction
would be to ignore the contemporaneous actuality and be unrealistic,
unfair, unjust and deprivatory. This may herald as well the possible
unauthorised taxation even in the face of cotaneous accounts kept in
ordinary course of business, attesting the grant of such trade discount and
adjustment thereof against the price. While, devious manipulations in
trade discount to avoid tax in a given fact situation is not an
impossibility, such avoidance can be effectively prevented by insisting on
the proof of such discount, if granted. The interpretation to the
contrary, as sought to be assigned by the Revenue to the first proviso to
Rule 3 (2)(c) of the Rules, when tested on the measure of the judicial
postulations adumbrated hereinabove, thus does not commend for acceptance.

37. On an overall review of the scheme of the Act and the Rules and the
underlying objectives in particular of Sections 29 and 30 of the Act and
Rule 3 of the Rules, we are of the considered opinion that the requirement
of reference of the discount in the tax invoice or bill of sale to qualify
it for deduction has to be construed in relation to the transaction
resulting in the final sale/purchase price and not limited to the original
sale sans the trade discount. However, the transactions allowing discount
have to be proved on the basis of contemporaneous records and the final
sale price after deducting the trade discount must mandatorily be reflected
in the accounts as stipulated under Rule 3(2)(c) of the Rules. The
sale/purchase price has to be adjudged on a combined consideration of the
tax invoice or bill of sale as the case may be along with the accounts
reflecting the trade discount and the actual price paid. The first proviso
has thus to be so read down, as above, to be in consonance with the true
intendment of the legislature and to achieve as well the avowed objective
of correct determination of the taxable turnover. The contrary
interpretation accorded by the High Court being in defiance of logic and
the established axioms of interpretation of statutes is thus unacceptable
and is negated. The appeals are thus allowed in the above terms. No
costs.
……..…………………………………J.
(DIPAK MISRA)
.……………………………………….J.
(AMITAVA ROY)
NEW DELHI;
JANUARY 18, 2017

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